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‘I visited "Crapton" seaside town – it’s smelly dump with water like raw sewage’

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    A bustling beach town is considered one of Britain's worst seaside resorts as it's plagued by louts, seagulls and cigarette butts.

    Clacton-on-Sea, the largest town on the Essex Sunshine Coast, has been branded "Crapton" by some disgruntled visitors.

    It was once considered the go-to destination for hard-working Brits and their families to visit for a holiday – but it seems times have changed as it was named the worst place in the UK for anti-social behaviour.

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    A poll for consumer magazine Which? has even identified it as the second worst seaside destination in the United Kingdom.

    Many say that the town centre has taken on a "horrible" and "really nasty" atmosphere – as it now boasts a rate of 68 incidents per every 1,000 residents, compared to the UK average of just 17.

    Last year the town saw a whopping 646 arson attacks, 296 shoplifting incidents and 3,221 violent and sexual offences reported, according to Crime Rate UK.

    But is it really all that bad? We sent Daily Star reporter Billie Schwab Dunn down to see what it’s really like.

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    Hopping on the train from Liverpool Street I didn’t know what to expect once I arrived in Clacton-on-Sea.

    Originally from Australia, I have been to some beautiful beaches in the UK that even friends and family back home would be jealous of.

    But I had a feeling Clacton Beach wasn’t going to be one of them.

    On the train, my peace and quiet were quickly (and rudely) interrupted by a gaggle of children and their equally loud parents.

    They took up the whole carriage, yelling from one end to the other. I messaged one of my friends to tell them I was on a “train ride from hell”.

    I wasn't being dramatic either, as the ticket collector seemed to agree.

    "Looks like you got on the wrong carriage," he said with a nod to the unruly group.

    I know this wasn't Clacton-on-Sea's fault but it did mean the trip wasn't off to a good start.

    Hopping off the train and walking down to the beach, I couldn't help but notice how run-down and rough the town felt.

    I quickly looked at some Tripadvisor reviews to see if people agree with me, which they do.

    “Thought we’d take a trip down memory lane by taking our granddaughters to the seaside we took our own two children to when they were young,” one person wrote.

    “From the moment we left the car park we were dismayed to see a town so empty of people the first week of school holidays and so many derelict empty shops. The streets were very dirty too.

    “The beach was worse. Instead of collecting shells, you can collect bottle tops, plastic bottles, shards of glass, and cigarette ends.

    “The beach is plagued by huge seagulls scavenging for food which unfortunately many families were actually encouraging despite a notice asking you not to feed them.”

    Another added: “40 years ago we had family in Clacton and enjoyed many visits there, recently we came for a day and couldn't believe what a dump the town had turned into.”

    I don’t want to sound like a wuss, but I felt on edge.

    It doesn’t help that the town doesn’t have a welcoming energy, as locals often stared at me as I passed them by.

    Despite it being a windy, grey and miserable Tuesday, I was surprised to see the beach as busy as it was, with a fair few families having picnics.

    I was even more shocked by the state of the water. It was a dark brown colour that couldn’t help but remind me of sewage and there was an unidentifiable stench in the air.

    I couldn’t believe there was a handful of people swimming in it.

    My assumption that the town is rough and ready was supported by a few locals that I spoke to.

    A woman working at the ice cream shop on the boardwalk told me she'd moved down only three months ago. Before that, she'd come down regularly.

    "It has its benefits… but it's really bad when it's really busy [with tourists]. A lot of people come here, like school trips from overseas, and there's a lot of graffiti and vandalism.

    "A lot of people break things down at the pier and it can get rough."

    Proving this point even further, as I was walking back to the train station a fight broke out in the street.

    While I don't know how it started, an older man was getting up and close to two teenage boys, who were antagonising and filming him.

    The majority of onlookers didn't seem fazed and watched on in curiosity.

    "We're used to seeing fights around here. It doesn't always happen but it does happen," one passerby told me when I asked.

    Another added: "I've seen that man try and fight people before."

    After a few minutes a woman, who seemed to know the man, came and broke the fight up.

    Not everyone thinks Clacton-on-Sea is all doom and gloom though.

    A woman I met on the train back to London told me she regularly travels from a small village down to the beachside town to visit her boyfriend.

    She loves it and said it's great during a proper British summer.

    "I think I'd like to move there one day. The beach is great and it's easy to get around. There are also more people there compared to where I'm from," she said.

    "Definitely come back when it's sunny for a swim but avoid the pier, someone recently drowned from swimming near there."

    Sadly, I couldn't agree with her, as one visit was more than I needed.

    If you're looking for a beach holiday, Cornwall, Margate and Brighton are much better options.

    And you're less likely to witness a fight.

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